2016 was a long year for everyone. It started off simple enough, and then halfway through the year everyone realized that we’ve all been played by 2016 and wanted to jump ship immediately. Unfortunately, there is no skipping the next couple of pages in the book of life because you don’t like them, so we were trapped in the throes of a wild presidential campaign, more tragedies than any of us would like to count, and the most ridiculous year of social media frenzy to date.
But somehow we survived, and that in itself is an accomplishment. Last year I didn’t set any traditional New Year’s Resolutions because I was 0-18 on years that they were completed. Oddly enough, I ended the year more satisfied that I ever had, so yeah for me. On the other hand, this year has been really hard for me personally. I lost friends to depression and gun violence, I’ve struggled with loving myself, and I’ve been in this weird place in my college career where I’m not in a bad spot but I’m not where I wanted to be either.
However, through all of this year I have only one regret, and that is not taking more chances. I am a creature of habit, a proud introvert, a lover of all things remaining the same, and I kind of got in my own way during 2016. Looking back, there were so many opportunities that I missed because I was afraid of failure, or afraid of making a fool out of myself. I gladly took the back seat on many things because I didn’t want the limelight, and I didn’t want things in my life to change too much.
Looking back, all of those opportunities that I missed where chances for me to grow as an individual, both professionally and personally. I have a whole Pinterest board of motivational quotes and wonderful things telling me to put myself out there and take risks, but I still let those chances pass. Of course I know that life happens outside of my comfort zone, and that I miss 100% of the shots I don’t take. But have you seen how nice my comfort zone is? Do you know how bad my free throws are?
My fear of failure was greater than my desire to grow, and so because of that I didn’t. Now this wasn’t always the case, and sometimes I was a little wild and stayed up past 10 pm. But when it came down too it, I was just too afraid.
I noticed that most of the chances that I took came when I had absolutely nothing to lose. I decided to apply and was selected to go to an RA Conference in Arkansas because, why not? And I loved it! I met so many new people, dropped my phone in the toilet, shorted out the electricity in my hotel room and presented a program about diversity and inclusion. I grew in ways that I didn’t know I could, and strengthened friendships with RAs and RDs from my university. I also forced my van to listen to the whole Hamilton soundtrack while I screamed along to the lyrics, but that’s another story.
Looking back at what happened when I decided to risk it and carpe diem, I realized that the worst thing that could happen to me is that I learn from the experience. My inner perfectionist cringes at the thought of failure, and maybe that’s because I’ve associated success with happiness. At the end of the day, I don’t want to look back and see all of the could haves and should haves. I’d rather have hilarious stories of how things didn’t go the way I planned, but somehow I managed to overcome, or how I learned a valuable lesson.
As every other person is saying, 2017 is the year of me. It will be the ultimate treat yo’ self year, and I’m pumped to get this show on the road.
New Year, same me, hopefully I get little bit better about a lot of things but until then!
Also, if you are like me and survived engagement season still very single, check out Kristen’s blog post about starting the new year single over at Prickly Love. It’s kinda fantastic, she’s kinda fantastic. Do yourself a favor and go read it.